Acne develops when the follicles, or pores, produce excessive cells and become blocked. The blocked pore does not allow sebum, the skin’s natural oil, to drain to the surface. The sebum becomes blocked in the follicle, and bacteria begin to grow. As it swells, the blockage causes a break in the follicle wall, destroying the skin tissue around it.
Minor ruptures or lesions near the skin’s surface tend to heal quickly and with minimal scarring. Deep scarring happens when the infection spreads from the dermis to the surrounding skin tissue. The level of inflammation usually corresponds directly to how severe the scar will be.
The most common types of acne scarring include depressed areas in the skin and discoloration. These areas experienced a loss of tissue and are called atrophic scars. Ice pick scars are sharp depressions that are small in diameter. Boxcar scars are wider and have steep, angles sides. Rolling scars are also wide in diameter but have rounded sides. Pigmented or discolored scars are the result of inflammation.
A less common type of acne scarring is called hypertrophic. This scarring happens when the skin produces too much collagen in the area. This is a response to the skin attempting to heal the lesion. The result is a raised area on the skin. Hypertrophic scars typically happen with the most severe acne lesions.
Most people with acne scars will have a mix of different types of scars. Scarring often occurs on the face, neck, back, and chest. Acne scars can be debilitating to a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Severe scarring can cause a person to be so self-conscious that they avoid relationships and social activities. Face-to-face interactions may prove to be extremely difficult.
Each individual is different, and one type of treatment is not appropriate for everyone. Chemical peels may be effective for minor scarring. Laser treatments work to stimulate collagen production and alter the sebaceous glands. Injectable fillers may be effective in filling in atrophic scars and helping the skin to rebuild its tissue. Typically, a combination of treatments is used to produce the desired results.
The types of treatment options will vary based on the type of skin and severity of scarring. Dr. Zizmor will discuss the various treatment options and recommend the one that is right for you.